Rafting fatality: The lower Caples River


The friends of a Queenstown man who died in a rafting incident on the Caples River on Monday raised the alarm by activating a personal locator beacon.

Police said in a statement yesterday Stephen Andrew Bowler, 30, died about 1pm while on the river with a group of friends in inflatable pack rafts.

A Rescue Coordination Centre spokesman said it was alerted to the incident by the activation of the beacon at 1.34pm.

The Queenstown rescue chopper flew to the site to find Bowler was ‘‘unfortunately deceased’’.

A police spokeswoman confirmed to Mountain Scene the rafting was not a commercial operation.

She couldn’t provide further details as police are investigating the incident on behalf of the coroner.

The Caples River joins the Greenstone River about 3km upstream of Lake Whakatipu, on the lake’s western side opposite Pigeon and Pig Islands.

Ngai Tahu’s put a rahui in place for the Caples River as a mark of respect for Bowler.

The rahui, a temporary restriction on access to or use of the area, will remain in place until next Tuesday.